Following two decades as Western Washington University’s Vice President of University Advancement and President and CEO of the WWU Foundation, Stephanie Bowers has announced her retirement effective summer 2021.
“Stephanie Bowers has provided exceptional leadership for the Western Foundation and University Advancement, which play a critical role in supporting Western’s commitments to advancing student success, as well as our programmatic initiatives and capital projects,” said President Sabah Randhawa. “Under her leadership, the Foundation has not only thrived through difficult times, it has transformed its capacity and vision for how it can serve the institution. Stephanie has always led from the heart, with compassion and integrity, which has made her an outstanding colleague and an excellent ambassador for Western in the community. Her legacy will not only be written in the strong teams and structures of the Western Foundation and University Advancement, but also in the high esteem and friendship of so many at Western and in the local and regional community.”
Over the next year, Bowers will continue to oversee the successful completion of the $20 million Building Washington’s Future capital campaign and the $10 million Student Success campaign.
Bowers began her tenure with Western in 2001, joining the WWU Foundation after a successful career in the University System of Maryland. Under her leadership over the past two decades, the Foundation has seen significant increases in annual fundraising, the endowment, and overall assets under management.
She led the Western Stands for Washington fundraising campaign which raised more than $62 million for WWU programs, student scholarships, and program enhancements. It remains the university’s largest fundraising campaign.
Under Bowers’ leadership, the Foundation’s endowment has grown nearly six-fold to more than $90 million, and its assets now exceed $110 million. Annual gifts to the Foundation have more than doubled during her tenure, and the number of students receiving scholarships has tripled.
“I am honored and proud to have served Western Washington University under three outstanding presidents, Karen Morse, Bruce Shepard, and Sabah Randhawa,” said Bowers. “With an excellent University Advancement team and WWU Foundation and Alumni Association board members, we have engaged our alumni and friends, and raised private resources that make a difference. I’m grateful to the many benefactors in our home community of Bellingham, plus the greater Seattle area, and locations across the nation. I’ll look forward to watching the next progression as a passionate supporter.”
President Randhawa has appointed WWU Provost Brent Carbajal and Foundation Board Vice Chair Andrea Sturm as co-chairs of the search committee. A committee comprised of alumni, faculty, staff, and community members will be assembled, and the search will commence in early fall.